Roy Sesana wants each settlement to have its own trust
The Basarwa human rights activist, Roy Sesana, together with other Basarwa leaders have struck a deal with the UN Rapporteur, Farida Shaheed who recently visited Botswana recently, to assess the country’s efforts to enhance the rights of all persons to participate in cultural life and to enjoy and access cultural heritage.
In her visit to Botswana, the Special Rapporteur visited several Basarwa settlements including Ghanzi/Dkar, Old Xade, New Xade, Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) among other places of interest and met with Government officials, chiefs, artists, academics and representatives of civil society.
As expected, her meeting with Basarwa was full of fireworks, very emotional, intriguing and fascinating. As she spoke to several Basarwa across the country, Shaheed’s impatience to meet ‘a certain Roy Sesana’ became evident as she frequently shared what she heard and read about him.
They eventually met and had a heart-to-heart-conversation which left the duo appreciating each other‘s views on issues and points of departure. When all was said and done, Sesana and the UN Rapporteur are said to have held a brief informal side meeting in which the UN Rapporteur is said to have offered Basarwa a some advice on life, given her vast experience garnered in the continent and Botswana in her 23 days visit when she was doing her study.
Shaheed, is a sociologist who has worked for more than 25 years promoting and protecting cultural rights by fostering policies and projects designed in culturally sensitive ways to support the rights of marginalised sectors, including women, peasants, religious and ethnic minorities. Ms. Shaheed has received several national and international human rights awards.
WeekendPost sought clarity from Roy Sesana over the subject matter of their meeting to which he replied: “I was been candid to her and she did the same to me.”
Sesana continued to say that: “She said that since Government has banned hunting in the CKGR, we can instead invest on a community trust to better our lives. I shared with her our challenges and past failures to do the same and she said they will be willing to assist us if we are willing to work and liberate ourserlves.”
The Basarwa human rights advocate further revealed that “I have to take her offer serious and engage other leaders so as we can reach a consensus on the matter and tell them what we have decided.” He said Shaheed offered them many new ideas which he will have to share with fellow tribe leaders before divulging to the public.
Basarwa trusts have always been surrounded by controversy but Sesana says Shaheed is offering some great ideas. “I have however made it known to her that we do not wish to have trusts that lump several settlements into one as such are prone to infightings and divisions. Let the people of Metsiamanong have own trust, let the people of Molapo have their own trust, and so forth and so forth,” remarked Sesana, who said he would oppose such a proposal if it comes as he knows its potential to divide his tribe.
Shaheed, in her preliminary observations, said the minority groups are not happy. “In many of the places I visited, I heard the frustration, anger, and fears expressed by people, in particular San, Hambukushu and Wayeyi communities, which stem from the lack of clear information about and understanding of the policies in place and future plans, in particular when it comes to the resolution of human – wildlife conflicts,” said Shaheed.
“The legacy of past violations of human rights in the distant and more recent past need to be acknowledged and addressed if the authorities wish to engage in meaningful consultations with communities for the future,” she said.
“The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has been at the centre of considerable controversy since the Government decided to relocate all people to settlements outside the Reserve,” said Shaheed. Despite a Court ruling confirming the right of the petitioners to return to the Reserve, concerns remain regarding an overly restrictive interpretation of the ruling and the right of offspring to remain on the reserve upon attaining majority at 18 years of age. “I would like the Government to clarify the matter,” the expert said.
The relationship between the communities and the Government has been characterised by mistrust over the past decade with the communities suspecting the Government of harbouring plans to relocate them to give way for wildlife.
Recently, the Government announced plans to stop commercial trophy hunting, which is the mainstay of community trust funds. Communities are granted wildlife quotas which they sell lucratively to safari companies trading in commercial hunting. Government’s intention to stop commercial trophy hunting will affect communities like Sankoyo, Phuduhudu and Xaxa, which are located in the dry areas.
Members of the community trusts have limited capacity to manage and this has resulted in perennial misuse of funds and poor governance of natural resources entrusted to the communities.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.